Yesterday was the 3rd stage of the race and and at 89 miles it was going to be a tough one. The course was a lollipop shaped course with a 23 mile loop on the end that we did 3 times. As I said in the last post there are no flat roads here and the main feature on the course was a long rolling climb with a steep pitch in the middle. The saying goes, what goes up must come down, and that hold true here. On stage 2 we hit 56 mph on a downhill and I have no doubt we went as fast of faster yesterday. All I can say is that the brake pads were smoking yesterday going into a tight turn at the bottom a one downhill. The plan for the Mercy Team was to get Brad and Nick in the break since they were our highest placed GC guys. The race started off blazing fast and our guys were working hard all the way to the first climb to keep the field intact. As we hit the climb the field blew apart and a 15 rider break went up the road and both Nick and Brad were there. At this point Austin and the rest of the team did a stellar job riding at the front covering moves to make sure the break stayed away. After 2 laps of chasing the pack finally relented and the time gap ballooned up to 4 minutes. Job done and we could relax and focus on getting our remaining guys to the line. In the break Brad worked hard to protect Nick and ensure the they stayed away only to pay for the effort with about 20 miles to go. Once he came off the break he worked hard to beat the field to the finish but got caught with about a kilometer to go. the group was flying but Austin was at the back and managed to give him a push to keep him in the group and not loose any time to the field.In the end Nick ended up 10 out of the break and is setting 10th overall.
The Pro women climbing up the big pitch.
So today is the final stage, a 50 minute crit on a hilly technical course. Should be fun!